July 21, 2009

David Brooks: "Liberal Suicide March."

Okay! I've been mocking David Brooks lately, and, frankly, I haven't even read this column yet, but I've got to get in on this "Liberal Suicide March" action. Link!
They brought in pollsters to their party conferences to persuade their members that the country was fervently behind them. They were supported by their interest groups and cheered on by their activists and the partisan press. They spent federal money in an effort to buy support but ended up disgusting the country instead.
Ah! Must begin by trashing the GOP. See, the Repubs have already done a suicide march. Now, it's time for the Dems to go:
It’s not that interesting to watch the Democrats lose touch with America.
It's all about interesting. The question is: Does the news amuse me?
That’s because the plotline is exactly the same.
Suicide is so last year.
The party is led by insular liberals from big cities and the coasts, who neither understand nor sympathize with moderates. They have their own cherry-picking pollsters, their own media and activist cocoon, their own plans to lavishly spend borrowed money to buy votes.
(I'm distracted by mixed metaphors. Insular/coasts. Cherry-picking/cocoon.)

Brooks goes on to identify 3 stages of the liberal suicide march, and I think it's glaringly obvious that what the liberals are doing is disastrous and destructive in a way that is utterly different from the Republicans continued adherence to conservative philosophy. Conservatism was only unpopular, and it could become popular again, especially after we've seen the liberal philosophy acted out in real life:
First, there was the stimulus package. You would have thought that a stimulus package would be designed to fight unemployment and stimulate the economy during a recession. But Congressional Democrats used it as a pretext to pay for $787 billion worth of pet programs with borrowed money. Only 11 percent of the money will be spent by the end of the fiscal year — a triumph of ideology over pragmatism.

Then there is the budget. Instead of allaying moderate anxieties about the deficits, the budget is expected to increase the government debt by $11 trillion between 2009 and 2019.

Finally, there is health care. Every cliché Ann Coulter throws at the Democrats is gloriously fulfilled by the Democratic health care bills. The bills do almost nothing to control health care inflation. They are modeled on the Massachusetts health reform law that is currently coming apart at the seams precisely because it doesn’t control costs. They do little to reward efficient providers and reform inefficient ones.

The House bill adds $239 billion to the federal deficit during the first 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. It would pummel small businesses with an 8 percent payroll penalty. It would jack America’s top tax rate above those in Italy and France. Top earners in New York and California would be giving more than 55 percent of earnings to one government entity or another.
This is suicide. I say: Hurry up and die.
Nancy Pelosi has lower approval ratings than Dick Cheney and far lower approval ratings than Sarah Palin. And yet Democrats have allowed her policy values to carry the day — this in an era in which independents dominate the electoral landscape.

Who’s going to stop this leftward surge? Months ago, it seemed as if Obama would lead a center-left coalition. Instead, he has deferred to the Old Bulls on Capitol Hill on issue after issue.
Ugh! I flash back on a post I wrote last October, October 30th, a few days before I voted for Obama, "With the Democratic control of Congress, how much traction should McCain get out of the argument for divided government?" Here's the whole text of that post, with boldface and bracketed commentary added:
TNR presents the debate. On Monday, John B. Judis had a piece in called "Down with Divided Government," and today, we get a response from Jacob T. Levy: "In Defense of Two-Party Rule."

This is a huge question for me, and I've wavered on the subject. Usually, I prefer divided government, but that doesn't mean I need to support McCain. I've seen McCain put way too much effort into pleasing Democrats and flouting his own party, and I can picture Obama standing up to the Democratic Congress and being his own man. What, really, will he owe them? McCain, by contrast, will need them. And we've seen that he wants to be loved by them.

Sometimes, I think that letting the Democrats control everything for 2 years would work out just fine. Let one party take responsibility for everything. When they can't whine and finger-point, what will they actually step up and do? It will be interesting to know.
Aaaaggghhhhh! Interesting. Save me from interesting!
And it will do the Republicans good to retool and define themselves, with an eye toward the 2010 election. I'd like to see this clarification after so many years of obfuscation.

So, that's how my thinking about 2-party rule has supported my decision to vote for Obama.

Now, let's see what Judis and Levy say. Judis notes various examples of successful presidencies under united government and bad presidencies with divided government, and says the evidence proves that "divided government is a curse, not a blessing, and should be avoided, if at all possible." He elaborates:
[In "The Politics Presidents Make" Stephen] Skowronek, a Yale political scientist, distinguishes two kinds of circumstances that have led to crippled government. In the first, a president from an opposing party, but who nevertheless represents the wave of the political future, confronts a congress wedded to the past and determined to frustrate him. You could put Nixon (who was the harbinger of an emerging Republican majority) and Clinton (who was the harbinger of an emerging Democratic majority) in this group. Both these presidencies degenerated into chaos in their second terms.

Then, there are presidents who, in Skowronek’s words, are “affiliated with a set of established commitments that have in the course of events been called into question as failed or irrelevant responses to the problems of the day.” Skowroneck numbers among these James Buchanan, Herbert Hoover and Jimmy Carter. These presidents don’t necessarily have to contend with a Congressional opposition in power, but like Hoover and Carter in their last two years, with a nascent and growing opposition in Congress that constitutes a functional majority in opposition to what they want to do. These presidencies have also proved disastrous.

A John McCain presidency would clearly fall in the latter group, and McCain, unlike Hoover and Carter, would have to face clear and unequivocal majorities in Congress united against him. Rather than promising success, that kind of divided government would promise chaos and failure.
Levy says:
The simple fact is that Republicans never controlled the House during Reagan's eight years....

The last six years of Clinton's presidency, 1995 to 2001, is the other era of divided government that gets held up as exemplary. Judis dismisses it as catastrophic on the basis of the Clinton impeachment. But that misses the wonderful weirdness of the late '90s. The chaos of impeachment coexisted alongside bipartisan legislative accomplishments... Again, I think a good president was made better through divided government....
But he's still not promoting McCain:
The obvious prediction is that Obama will have at least two years of one-party government. That may be, temporarily, for the best--the Bush-era Republican Party, like the Nixon-era Republican Party, needs some time in the wilderness to unlearn some very bad habits. ... [I]n the unlikely event that a healthier, reformed Republican Party is ready by 2010 and able to grab back control of the House, so much the better for American politics--and maybe so much the better for Obama's presidency. And in the meantime, I'm certainly rooting for smart and decent Hill Republicans (admittedly a minority) to hold onto their seats to lead the rebuilding toward another era of soundly divided government.
I don't know if undivided government is always better, but I think it can have some benefits now, and it's not so obviously always bad that opposition to it works as an especially strong reason to support McCain in 2008.

We'll never know what McCain might have done. He'd have made his own mistakes, and I won't assume he would have stood up to Congress.

And I cling to the belief that Obama has the ability to save us from the destructive path Congress has chosen for itself. But will he use it?

How much of an ideologue is he anyway? We've come this far, and still we don't really know. Is he, at heart, the committed leftist his staunchest opponents say he is? I know Rush Limbaugh is fond of saying — over and over — that Obama is intentionally destroying the economy (so that nothing will be left for us but socialism).

I still think Obama is a pragmatist. I also think he's mainly interested in attaining personal glory. If that's right, the prospect of his own defeat in 2012 should shock him into standing up to the bunch of Democrats who — I hope and I hope he sees — will be crushed in 2010.

So: hope and change. Come on, Obama. We need some now.

129 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Someone will say bitter because you used the word cling.

Widmerpool said...

Ann,

Man-o-man, you're just thinkin' too hard. O is a neopyte and not a leader. It really doesn't matter what he wants. He's just not up to the job. Painfully obvious to some of us many months ago. But rationalized away by people like you, alas.

Salamandyr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deirdre Mundy said...

I think Obama WANTS to be a one term president. Bill Clinton earns more from each speech now than he did for an entire year as POTUS.

Jimmy Carter gets to travel the world and be heaped with honors.

Ex-president is a much more profitable and exciting job than president. Heck, even ex-vice-presidents do pretty well for themselves.

So why wait 8 years to be ex-pres when you can do it in 4? I mean, come on, the guy is the first Black president. He'll make a fortune!

If you imagine that Obama is basically trying to throw the 2012 election for personal gain, everything he does makes sense....

Quayle said...

Brook's line ("He needs to, and still can, stand up to his party. Its all Congress' fault, etc.") is a saving setup to enable the redemption of Obama.

Obama has driven us toward the cliff, foot pressed to the floorboard, and now brooks is claiming that Obama is in the back seat, and he only need jump out of the car.

Nice try, except that a candidate that was able to lower the waters of the ocean is, a priori, expected to be able to handle congress.

The press created this monster, and now they want to claim that he isn't even in the picture.

Salamandyr said...

I personally think Obama doesn't really care what gets done, as long as he gets credit for it.

It's like the stimulus package. He was the marketer in chief, telling everyone all the wonderful things the plan would do, while the Democrats in Congress wrote a bill he had little to no influence on, and then he signed it. Now he runs around pretending the actual bill was exactly what he wanted.

So now we have the health care plan, which he's going around making all sorts of promises for, yet the Congress is handing him a bill nothing like what he's talking about. Yet he will sign it, and claim it's exactly what he wanted.

He wants to be the guy who passed "health care reform", what that actual reform is, he's kind of fuzzy on.

MadisonMan said...

But yes, if the current mess of horrid legislation leads to the expunging of the Democratic Leadership from Congress -- by the ballot box in their own districts, ideally, but I'll take a revolt in DC as well -- that will be great news. The only downside is that the Republican Leadership isn't particularly non-venal, either. Perhaps they have seen the error of their ways and have rediscovered thrift?

ricpic said...

The presidency, both houses of congress and with the next appointment a lock on the supreme court -- some suicide. Not to mention the mainstream media, the academic twerps and all bien pensants everywhere.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Very nimble, funny, great post. Bravo.

Now, I know the Democrats aren't doing something right, because as a mostly Democratic voter, why do I not know anything about this health care bill, other than it sounds scary? Seriously, I'm trying to keep up on things, but I'm busy. And the only message I'm seeing/hearing, is that Obama's health care is a nightmare. Why can't the Dems prove otherwise?

traditionalguy said...

Obama's use of Chaos as his strategy can only come from Obama's calm belief that the Democrats now in power will never lose power. He seems to know something that no other American politician ever before knew...that his machine will not lose in future elections.

Ron said...

Unfortunately I think this is only wishful thinking on your part, Ann.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

And I cling to the belief that Obama has the ability to save us [!!!!!]from the destructive path Congress has chosen for itself

You really are willfully blind, aren't you?

Obama said all through his campaign what his goals are and he is plowing right through the list. He didn't always say what they are on purpose of course, but in little off the cuff slip ups like the remark with Joe the Plumber about "spreading the wealth".

Anyone who was listening with even half an ear would have heard the message and been able to figure out that Obama is doing excactly what he promised. He wants to destroy the United States and remake it into a Socialist State.

Now you want to put the blame elsewhere, not that Congress doesn't deserve the blame as well. But you want to STILL hold up this tin pot dictator, empty suit, sock puppet as a saviour.

Puulleeeeze.....spare us.

Rialby said...

Hope against hope, Ann - "I still think he's a pragmatist". Why?

What has he ever done to demonstrate that? As someone else said - he's a neophyte who doesn't know what he doesn't know but has been led into believing that because he's a good speaker and because he comes from a diverse background with an interesting personal story, he is untouchable.

Rialby said...

Hope against hope, Ann - "I still think he's a pragmatist". Why?

What has he ever done to demonstrate that? As someone else said - he's a neophyte who doesn't know what he doesn't know but has been led into believing that because he's a good speaker and because he comes from a diverse background with an interesting personal story, he is untouchable.

Sloanasaurus said...

I still think Obama is a pragmatist. I also think he's mainly interested in attaining personal glory.

If he is a pragmitist, then he is missing something. Perhaps he is missing the courage to enforce his pragmitism. He is letting the idiots in his party write all the bills. The Stimulus bill is a total disaster.

I don't think Obama is a pragmitist. His behavior points to more of an ideologue willing to make false statements for political gain.

MadisonMan said...

If he is a pragmatist, I think a practical thing would be to tour the country, get out of the DC Vortex, and listen to actual voters, not to people that local Democratic Committees set up to meet him.

Still, I'm hopeful.

Sloanasaurus said...

You really are willfully blind, aren't you?

Obama said all through his campaign what his goals are and he is plowing right through the list.


This is a wise observation. too often people ignore what a politican really says and put their own beliefs onto the politican. The best historical example were the industrialists in Germany who put aside Hitler's anti-semitic rhetoric as just rhetoric.

Perhaps Althouse's and others belief in Obama's pragmitism is really their own hopes put on Obama and not factual at all.

Bart DePalma said...

And I cling to the belief that Obama has the ability to save us from the destructive path Congress has chosen for itself.

Why? Obama has not accomplished anything substantive in his entire political career. The Obama way is to demand action, allow others to do the heavy lifting of actual leadership and then take credit for whatever emerges if it polls well, even if the result bears no resemblance to what Obama initially demanded. See the Porkulus Bill.

How much of an ideologue is he anyway? We've come this far, and still we don't really know. Is he, at heart, the committed leftist his staunchest opponents say he is? I know Rush Limbaugh is fond of saying — over and over — that Obama is intentionally destroying the economy (so that nothing will be left for us but socialism).

Obama is a socialist, but not a particularly effective one in the democratic system. When given free reign, Obama has effectively nationalized the banks and literally nationalized GM and Chrysler. However, thankfully, Obama has proven to be inept in steering bills through Congress socializing the health care industry and regulating the entire economy indirectly through cap and tax.

I still think Obama is a pragmatist. I also think he's mainly interested in attaining personal glory. If that's right, the prospect of his own defeat in 2012 should shock him into standing up to the bunch of Democrats who — I hope and I hope he sees — will be crushed in 2010.

Obama is one of that bunch of Dems hopefully recreating 1994 in 2010.

Obama has enjoyed nothing but electoral success and it appears to me that the resulting adoration has given him a fair size messiah complex. When Obama told an incredible series of whoppers with a straight face about his public option Son of Medicaid program yesterday, it was apparent that he expects voters to believe him unconditionally and do what he tells them. This is not the manner of a man who sees the approaching cliff towards which he is running.

LarsPorsena said...

"...that because he's a good speaker ..."

Please refrain from any mention of his 'good' speaking until you can recite back passages of his spew that are worth quoting.

I'm continually amazed how commentators praise his speeches but can't tell you what he said ,or can remember and quote back a day later, anything he's said.

His pronouncements are unremarkable
in every aspect.

Roger J. said...

Obama has been stiffed by every world leader from Netanyahu to Amadenijad. Pelosi has taken Obama's measure and found him to be an empty suit. Taking control of his party isnt goint to happen, especially with his diminishing poll numbers.

Big Mike said...

I had to take off my glasses as I read your post, Professor, because the tears were pouring out of my eyes and dribbling off the bottom of my lenses onto the keyboard.

But threaded through your writing is the notion that conservatives are somehow monolithic. That's a huge mistake. I suspect that there are a great many people such as myself, who are fiscally conservative but socially fairly moderate. Finding ourselves in a party whose politicians spent money like a drunken sailor (but not, thankfully, like a sober liberal politician) while making silly noises about Roe v. Wade was uncomfortable, but that other party, you know, the one you support, hates people like me with a raw passion. (And I return the feeling, as you may have noted.)

Meanwhile, I think you're missing something about Barack Obama that has been only slowly coming into focus for me. He doesn't work very hard. I was disturbed when, in the face of a financial crisis that he was describing as the worst since the Great Depression, he took a lengthy vacation in Hawaii in lieu of assembling an economics team and establishing some form of working relationship with Paulson back in December-January. Then he put no effort whatseoever into the mis-named "stimulus bill" (which stimulated nothing). He clearly has had no interest in learning the detailed niceties of protocol, and he has come across to foreign leaders as in ignorant boob (or so the foreign newspapers, such as der Spiegel are saying).

I'm sure he thinks he's working hard, but he's not. I just hope he finds a work ethic somewhere, not to mention some sense of moderate pragmatism.

Joe M. said...

"This is suicide. I say: Hurry up and die."

Amen! If only the Republicans could step up.

Florida said...

I've never seen a post go so long without saying anything.

What is it exactly, Ann, that you want Obama to do?

Obama is the leader of the Democrat Party, which controls the White House, the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Federal Reserve, AIG, GM and Chrysler.

Everything that happens in our government is a direct result of Obama wanting it.

How in the world could you possibly be so ignorant as to think he's going to stand up to Congress?

Congress and Obama are partners. They're implementing their vision of a new society.

Get used to it. Remember: you helped elect it.

Patrick said...

Following on from Dust Bunny Queen, I think the real question is now: Can Obama suck Ann in twice????

Maybe mea culpa, 2013, will crack the 1000 comments mark and finally break Ann's blog?

Balfegor said...

But Congressional Democrats used it as a pretext to pay for $787 billion worth of pet programs with borrowed money. Only 11 percent of the money will be spent by the end of the fiscal year — a triumph of ideology over pragmatism.

Really? Isn't it pragmatism-pragmatism? Remember, the vast majority of the spending hits in 2010. So it's all fresh in peoples' minds for the midterms. The House Democrats are basically the ones who wrote the bill, after all -- Obama was essentially a nonentity in that whole debate, and all the Senate did was trim a little around the edges. I think they were very pragmatic.

Bender said...

I also think he's mainly interested in attaining personal glory.

So is Hugo Chavez, and that punk ex-president of Honduras, and Kim Jong Il, and Fidel, and every other thug leftist. They want to attain personal glory by destroying the existing order so as to recreate the world in a utopian paradise, where they are godlike figures.

PJ said...

He seems to know something that no other American politician ever before knew...that his machine will not lose in future elections.


Perhaps no other American President has ever known such a thing, but certain politicians who have held the position of chief executive of a large midwestern city, on the other hand . . .

Original Mike said...

I still think Obama is a pragmatist..

I would love to hear why you think this.

I look at one unworkable program after another ("stimulus", cap and trade, ObamaCare) and "pragmatic" (pragmatism: A pratical way of solving problems) and see anything but. He's either stupid (I don't think he is) or an idealogue.

AJ Lynch said...

Mad Man said:

"If he is a pragmatist, I think a practical thing would be to tour the country, get out of the DC Vortex, and listen to actual voters, not to people that local Democratic Committees set up to meet him."

Good stuff, I agree and with your "rediscovering thrift" too by both parties.

Original Mike said...

And the only message I'm seeing/hearing, is that Obama's health care is a nightmare. Why can't the Dems prove otherwise?.

Think real hard, ZPS. I'm sure it will come to you.

AJ Lynch said...

Mad Man:

Also, the pragmatism tour would not work unfortunately unless he could stifle the influence of his handlers who can't hear any voices from outside the DC vortex.

Sy said...

Ann,

ARE YOU SERIOUS? You are hoping Obama will SAVE US from the destructive path of Congress????

I got news for you ...HE IS SPEARHEADING AND LEADING CONGRESS ON THAT DESTRUCTIVE PATH.

Rich B said...

Anne Coulter doesn't deal in cliches. Her examples are drawn from real life, and yes, liberals are that wacky and clueless.

Did you enjoy Rush's speeding up the audio of Obama? Made him sound more concise than usual.

Obama is not a pragmatist - he is a fantasist who has been insulated from the consequences of his own delusions - up to now.

downtownlad said...

Oh please.

Ann knows nothing about economics, so take what she says with a grain of salt.

When Ann (or Meade) can explain to me what "quantitative easing" is, then I'll start trusting Ann's judgment on the economy.

After all, Ann thought Bush was doing wonderfully on the economy - touting the strong economy in the Spring of 2008 as the recession was already underway. She refused to even acknowledge how terrible the economy was even in September of last year.

But somehow Obama is supposed to turn the economy from a Depression to boom time in 6 months?

That is not how the economy works.

First you need to stop the cliff diving, which has already been accomplished. The recession has likely ended right about now, although that won't be declared for about 9 months or so. But the economy will be positive in the third quarter. Unemployment will lag the recovery, AS IT ALWAYS DOES, but it will be declining by the middle of 2010.

No mainstream economists at all are talking about controlling the deficit at this point in time. Only wingnut bloggers are touting that meme. Most credible economists think that the stimulus plan should have been larger, but the press ignored them during the debate, instead turning it into a debate between Centrist Obama and wingnut Republicans who wanted to slash spending and cause another Great Depression.

Look at the Stock Market. It is up strongly. Bush turned your 401K into a 201K. Obama has it up to a 2.501K at least.

And look at the long-term Treasury. It's at like 3.5%. The threat is deflation, not inflation right now.

The economy is healing itself. Savings rates are now at 7% or so, up from negative 0.5 %. That has an enormous impact on GDP growth - in the negative direction. Short term pain, but long-term gain, as savings are good in the long-run. I expect savings to creep upwards of 10%, but once that stabilizes - you can have moderately strong growth again.

As for the tax and spend philosophy, tell me one person whose taxes have risen? Almost everyone got a tax cut - thanks to Obama.

And nobody will see a tax hike before the 2010 elections. So they'll likely see universal health care, an end to insurance companies not covering pre-existing conditions, etc. Those will prove to be enormously popular. And the tax hikes wont kick in until after the election. Same for global warming - those taxes don't kick in until 2014 or so. So voters will see a lot of benefits, without the checkbook (at least in the short-term). That is not a recipe for voter backlash.

The Dems will hold Congress in 2010. I'll put money on that.

Also recall that Ann predicted a wipeout for Obama last summer - saying he would win about 10 states. She is not a good prognosticator. Plus she is of the older generation, and she does not understand the view of younger Americans - which is decisively liberal. Most people are not going to be upset when Goldman Sachs bankers have to pay a higher tax rate.

Again, I don't like the tax hikes. They hit me. And I don't like the social programs. But I still wouldn't vote Republican in a million years.

downtownlad said...

Here is a useful link from Krugman that explains why the deficit spending has helped prevent a Great Depression.

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/deficits-saved-the-world/

If someone can't understand this post, your opinion on economics is worthless.

You can disagree with it - but please explain where the Nobel Laureate in economics made a mistake. That will be very interesting to hear.

garage mahal said...

I remain highly optimistic on Obama failing. If that means myself and everyone else included fails as well, well so be it.

L. E. Lee said...

It would be great if Ann created an "Obama has failed" tag so that in three years we can go back and say "wow, you were right, he was a total failure!" or "ha, ha, you were so wrong! The economy is doing great!"
I suspect these posts are going to be pretty embarrassing by then.

Jim said...

Obama's problem is that he has NEVER been in charge of anything his entire life. Even the Annenberg Challenge was a figurehead position.

He is the SPOKESMAN for the Democratic Party. Not its leader. He is Dee Dee Myers and Ari Fleischer rolled up into one.

For good or ill, President Bush was a leader who led from the front for the first 4 years of his administration. There was comparatively little discussion of the Republican leaders in Congress except to the extent that they were seen to be twisting arms to accomplish the goals that Bush set in front of them.

Compare and contrast that to the situation we have now where Pelosi and Reid are almost always mentioned in the same breath as Obama. Has a President ever been reduced to the same status as the Congressional leaders of his own party in the same way that Obama has? I don't recall it happening in modern times.

Obama has always been the figurative "1 of 100" in a deliberative body and he continues to act that way with regard to policy. He looks upon the office of the president as an excuse for super-expensive personal perks like his "date" to Broadway or taking his family on an extended vacation of Europe.

He's a dilletante, not a serious policy guy. He's been swallowing Leftist cant his entire life being led by one "mentor" or another. Never leading the charge, but always following someone else's lead.

So it is that we find ourselves with a rudderless ship of state being guided more by the current of Leftist ideology than the captain at its wheel.

He's no pragmatist by any means because pragmatism requires the ability to look at both sides of an issue and devise a third way which steers at least a somewhat middle way. (Under Clinton, it was called triangulation.) It requires an ability to determine "the art of the possible."

Obama has never done that in his entire life. How is it that his supporters believe that he will now show an ability that he has never displayed before?

He lacks an ability to see the flaws in Leftist ideology because he's never been forced to deal with those who disagree with it and have the power to stand forcefully against it.

Look at his plaintive whining whenever he is opposed on any issue. Like a two-year old, his only response to opposition is throwing a temper tantrum because he lacks the maturity to deal with adversity that is developed over a lifetime of not getting your way. For all the stories of his "biography," he has led a relatively sheltered life surrounded only by those who present no serious threat to garbage ideology he has always been spoonfed.

So the "heavy-lifting" must be accomplished by others because his intellectual muscles are atrophied and weak. He cannot propose while Congress disposes as a president should because he's never had to do it as governor or mayor or chief executive - even in his own household where Michelle is clearly the boss.

If Ann is waiting for pragmatism, she's going to be waiting a long time. He's never displayed because he is incapable of understanding the concept, and there's no one in the Democratic Party that's inclined to instruct him.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Here is a useful link from Krugman

Cool. I printed off 5 copies cause the shitter is out of TP.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I remain highly optimistic on Obama failing. If that means myself and everyone else included fails as well

But just think garage! Your girl will be frontrunner in 2012! Assuming of course she doesn't fall down and break her ass again.

But take heart garage, if Obama fails that means the rest of us don't have to live in his socialist paradise. You on the other hand are free to move to Venezuela or Cooba where they have a political and ecomonic system more suited to your tastes.

bagoh20 said...

The self-delusion continues. It's amazing in some people. Reminds me of a drug addict who never really sees the light until she hits rock bottom. Too bad, it's so much less destructive to get your wits early. I hate to go there but, I bet there were people making excuses to still support the party in 1945 Germany. How bad does it have to get? 23 trillion?

garage mahal said...

And still no birth cert. WTF?

Darcy said...

Signing on to DBQ's comment, if I may. Too crabby to write more.

Yeah, let's hope. I guess.

Jim said...

DTL -

"You can disagree with it - but please explain where the Nobel Laureate in economics made a mistake. "

The "Nobel Laureate" didn't get the Nobel for Keynesian economics. He is far afield from his area of expertise in discussing the multiplier effects of government spending.

Keynesian economics has been debunked by reality over and over again. Tax cuts and de-regulation have proven time and time again to be the engines that are most effective in stimulating economic growth - dating back to JFK's tax-cutting days.

It is pretty much given that FDR's fiscal policies did more to extend the Great Depression than they ever did to shorten it.

There is a difference between deficit spending caused by leaving money in people's hands and that caused by government-created distortions in the marketplace. Stimulus spending is allocating market resources to inefficient ends while leaving money in the hands of consumers and businesses would have allocated it to more efficient ends.

Any argument to the contrary is just more partisan hackery, not serious economics.

David said...

"And I cling to the belief that Obama has the ability to save us from the destructive path Congress has chosen for itself. But will he use it?"

If he does not, you can always start clinging to guns and religion. We will be in need of both at that point.

downtownlad said...

Yes - tax cuts always work. Like when George W. Bush cut taxes.

Yes - what a marvelous economy we have had since those tax cuts in 2001.

Reminder - total jobs created since George W. Bush's tax cuts were passed: ZERO.

But I do remember that awful economy in the 1990's when the economy tanked after Clinton raised taxes. 20 million jobs created in the 1990's, but nevermind - a complete disaster.

Here are Obama's approval ratings.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/113980/Gallup-Daily-Obama-Job-Approval.aspx

After a honeymoon - they are pretty much static. Yawn.

As for Krugman - he predicted this whole crisis. Don't dismiss him so casually.

As Keynes said - "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do sir?"

I used to dismiss Keynesian economics as well. Well the facts change, and proved me wrong. I changed my mind.

Oligonicella said...

Still into that hope thing, eh? Good luck with that.

bagoh20 said...

It very telling how the bar is moving: People like Krugman and DTL are now telling us that the reason this disaster is OK is because a terrible depression was avoided. What's next? I suspect if we go into a depression due to these policies, we will then be told that at least we avoided the explosion of the sun.

DTL, academics understand the world poorly and economics academics most of all. You can find one to support any argument. This includes those that win Nobels for political correctness. Other great minds: Arafat, Gore, etc.

Liberals are such suckers for the fallacy of authority.

Hoosier Daddy said...

In all seriousness, I love how DTL thinks we need more deficit spending in order to save us from the Depression. Well since DTL moved to Thailand he probably missed out on the 8 years of deficit spending under Chimpy McHitlerburton in which the national debt was doubled and of course according to DTL Bush ruined the economy. So in the fevered swamp of DTL and Krugman, the way to fix the economy is for Obama to increase the deficit and debt even more than Bush did.

So to recap, Bush deficit spending = economic destruction. Obama deficit spending = saving the economy and financial nirvana. Oh and everyone gets free health care and a pony.

downtownlad said...

And I'll tell you what tax cuts do - they lower taxes. They are not a cure all for the economy.

You can have lower taxes and lower services. Or you can have higher taxes and higher services. And if you balance the budget in the long-term, it is a prudent way to run the economy.

Or you lower taxes and increase spending (as Bush did) - which will be a disaster.

Obama plans to raise taxes, so the long-term fiscal situation will not be dire. You may not like high taxes and high services (I don't), but there is little economic evidence that this will have an adverse impact the economy. It just sucks for high-income earners. Oh well - life isn't fair.

In fact, there is a lot of evidence that universal health care will help the economy, as it will allow workers to quit their jobs more easily and be redeployed to jobs where they are more productive. Many people stay at crappy jobs just because they have health insurance.

Richard Dolan said...

"I still think Obama is a pragmatist."

Let's run with that idea for a minute. A pragmatist appreciates what works and avoids what doesn't -- to see what it looks like in a politician, consider China's turn away from Mao's insane economics, for which the rallying cry was Deng's saying about black cat/white cat, who cares as long as it's good at catching mice.

So where is there any of that in what O is saying or doing? Given the recession, a pragmatist would be concerned about economic basics -- increasing production and employment for starters. What is there in O's first six months that shows any appreciation for productivity and what it takes to increase it, what is likely to impede its growth and how it all relates to the money supply? Not much that I can see. Instead, O seems disinterested in the whole subject -- no need to push for policies to address the recession; as an issue, the recession is just so last week; and anyway the creation of economic benefits just happens. His job (as he told Joe last fall) is to spread it around some. O acts like a true believer in the "free lunch" school of economics -- just keep printing money and increasing gov't spending and everything will be grand. That's how we got the stimulus that stimulated nothing, the bailouts that achieved nothing useful and now ObamaCare to really cure what ails you. As others have noted, what O is doing is not really different from what he was saying on the campaign trail, once you got past all the hopey-changey stuff.

Ann concedes, in a backhanded way, that what O is doing is the opposite of pragmatic, but she suggests that his actions to date are not the essence of O-as-leader. I have no dispute that 'pragmatic' doesn't describe what O is doing. As for his essence, the "true O", it only makes a difference if it guides what he does.

garage mahal said...

FDR caused the Great Depression, and lost WWII. [had it not been for serious Republicans to bail him out at every turn]. Don't read THAT in the history books? Not reading the right books. Try reading Jonah Goldberg and Ann Coulter and open up your damn mind!

Darcy said...

Cracking me up, Hoosier Daddy. Thank you.

Original Mike said...

Services. Yeah, that's what those no-money-down, no documentation home loans propped up by Freddie and Fannie were. They were services.

downtownlad said...

Hoosier Daddy - The credit bubble destroyed the economy.

http://media.photobucket.com/image/graph%20of%20credit%20as%20a%20percentage%20of%20gdp%20united%20states/NBBooks/CreditMarketDebtasPercentGDP.gif

Since the big risk now is deflation, you need deficit spending to prevent that from occurring.

I would hope that there is a long-term plan to fix the deficit, but I wouldn't start that until the economy reaches full-employment again. Obama DOES plan on raising taxes - that will raise revenue.

Actually Clinton is a good model here. We had a recession in 1993 as well as a deficit. He had his own mini stimulus plan. And he ultimately raised taxes. We ended up with a surplus at the end of his term.

traditionalguy said...

The liberal welfare state (New Deal) was rescued by WW2 destroying nearly all industrial production overseas. The the UAW and other Unions were allowed to double wages and benefits here since no one else had a competeing production facility at lower costs of wage and benefit structure. That situation had ended by 1990. Without the Dot Com Bubble's rescue, the end of American production of goods at a high cost would have caused a recession then.The Wall Street boys were able to pull in the profits from overseas Industrial production to be "invested " here from other countries and other people who trusted our system not to rob them. Whoops, we have been exposed as robbing them afterall by investing them into a Bubble of construction on credit, which has crashed. And there is no industrial base around to employ workers once employed in the construction bubble.The Mexicans are going home where they can find a job. Pelossi and Obama apparently believe that they can keep our overseas creditors happy by borrowing more money to pay them with in the short term, and that may work UNTIL the world financial system re-oganizes without us. I believe that such a reorganized World Governance job is Obama's only present goal.To get from here to there Obama will need to sell us out, like Algore and Clinton have been doing on a smaller scale. He will also need to sell out Israel. He will also need to sell out free American elections with accurate vote counts. I see the socializing of our health care as a distraction to Obama's real plans, so it will probably not happen this year. After all, Obama is a pragmatist!

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hoosier Daddy - The credit bubble destroyed the economy.

Oh then it was Greenspan who is the culprit!

Actually Clinton is a good model here. We had a recession in 1993 as well as a deficit. He had his own mini stimulus plan. And he ultimately raised taxes. We ended up with a surplus at the end of his term.

Never mind that Congress reigned in spending and made cuts across the board from defense to social programs.

Oh and there was that little technological revolution call the internet....but that was just a minor blip. Nothing to see there.

bagoh20 said...

DTL, that last post on taxes perfectly illustrates your delusion.

You don't just raise taxes without any effect, see California. The taxpayers just leave or avoid them however they can, as will the US businesses that can. Result: lower revenues - higher unemployment. Again, see California. If you think there will be cost cutting by this congress, you are blind to history.

Clinton raised taxes with an underlying strong economy that could absorb it temporarily.

Bush also turned around a recession, but with tax cuts in a weak underlying economy (post 9/11).

If you could get out of the "my side no matter what" mindset you could be free to think. Freedom can be for you too. It's right out there. Just reach for it.

Synova said...

"I still think Obama is a pragmatist. I also think he's mainly interested in attaining personal glory. If that's right, the prospect of his own defeat in 2012 should shock him into standing up to the bunch of Democrats who — I hope and I hope he sees — will be crushed in 2010."

Well, that would be nice.

But this supposes that if he's standing up to others that he actually knows the right thing to do.

I think it's far more likely that he really *believes* that throwing money at a whole bunch of social programs will stimulate the economy.

I think it's far more likely that he really *believes* that we can just decide to provide health care to everyone and it will work because it's the right thing to do.

He may be shocked into action at the prospect of a 2012 loss, but will he have even the barest clue as to what the cause of that loss would be?

What we see, over and over, Historically, contemporaneously, is that when the magical thinking involved in the socialist mindset doesn't work, what leaders DO is do it HARDER.

Universal government run health care MUST work because it is RIGHT. So if human nature mucks it up, it just has to be done HARDER.

Because saving the planet is the right thing to do (and now I have a Captain Planet musical mind-bug thank you!) it will automatically NOT wreck the economy. If the economy falters it's something else and no reason not to protect the planet HARDER and enact more inefficient policies on energy production because it is RIGHT the "green" energy production MUST be the answer and must be done HARDER.

When have we EVER seen someone come to power with a "share the wealth" agenda, "government should take care of you" agenda and when things get worse, decide that it was their policies at fault?

Never.

Because the philosophy requires, from the beginning as a foundational element, a denial of human nature.

When things go badly none of these guys suddenly go... "Oh wow! My entire understanding of human nature and how humans function in the world was wrong!"

None of them.

When things go badly they never doubt that it was because they didn't enact their policies well enough. They need to do it HARDER.

Jim said...

DTL -

"We had a recession in 1993 as well as a deficit."

Wrong. The economy was already recovering by the time Clinton took office.

Clinton raised taxes in an already rising economy. The fact that the economy rose was not a result of tax increases: it was despite them.

This sort of backwards logic in the face of reality is where you go wrong. Can you prove that the economy would not have gone even higher absent higher taxes, or that higher taxes had even a single iota of positive impact on the economy?

You cannot. The rising economy was caused by the inflation of the housing bubble and the natural recovery of the economy which was already taking place before Clinton ever took office. The tax increases simply took a slice off the top of that growth.

You really need to get a better understanding of economics and cause-and-effect before bringing such weak arguments to the table.

Jon said...

dtl said: "Look at the Stock Market. It is up strongly. Bush turned your 401K into a 201K. Obama has it up to a 2.501K at least."

Not exactly. On the last full trading day of the Bush presidency (January 16, 2009) the stock market closed at 8,281. Yesterday the market closed at 8,848. So under Obama it's up a little so far, but most of the big gains of the past few months were just getting back to where it was when Obama first took over.

Anyway, the real measure of Obama's economic success, or lack thereof, will be job growth. Despite inheriting a recession, Bush did have net positive job growth during his presidency. Will we see net positive job growth over the next four years? So far Obama is over 2 million jobs in the hole.

Synova said...

And, of course, I base my assessment of Obama's complete and utter ideological blindness on his immediate decision to support Zelaya.

bagoh20 said...

Synova,

You're wonderful!

Elliott A said...

There have been four actual surplusses in US history. Each was followed by recession the next year. Over taxation caused the surplus, not economic growth.

As for the President, he may be smarter than we think. In areas such as health care and energy, we have had decades of inaction. By enacting legislation for any plan, no matter how bad, the environment changes from doing something to fixing something, eminently easier to do. If he passes them now, and fixes them by the summer of 2012, he's got it made. If he doesn't work hard to fix them, then we have disaster, but perhaps not much worse than inaction.

Darcy said...

It's a good clue, Synova. And I second the "wonderful"!

Alex said...

Wow oh wow, Althouse is still HOPING and PRAYING Obama is a pragmatist. Give it another month before Althouse completely comes to her senses. Talk about a bitter clinger.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

And I'll tell you what tax cuts do - they lower taxes. They are not a cure all for the economy.

You can have lower taxes and lower services. Or you can have higher taxes and higher services


DTL, you are so full of sh*t. Have you ever ran a business? Have you ever employed people? Have you ever had to rely on the market forces of supply and demand for your living, relying on no one but yourself for creating, expanding and capitalizing your business start up and business growth. Have you ever had to deal with government bureaucrats, licensing, federal, state, local, sales and excise taxes in how they affect your day to day business? Permits? Fees? All the hurdles put in your way to creating jobs and success?

Ever had to deal with laying off employees because the cost of everything is going up? The cost of insurance, taxes, rents, supplies....everything? Having to decide if you can afford to keep the part time guy who is working two jobs because your business taxes just went up and your own income just went down.

My guess is NOT.

Talk about PRAGMATIC, the small business owner is one of the most pragmatic people in the world. Along with generally optimistic, hopeful and industrious. BUT when push comes to shove and the Government is taking more and more of your income, the pragmatist will first cut back as much as possible....."sorry guy with the two part time jobs, I can't afford you".... then they will cut back on 'reportable' income to lower the tax bite. THEN...cash IS KING! and don't you forget it.

I love the academic types who think they know how the world works when viewed from their ivory towers, or in your case Thailand, instead of viewing it from those of us in the trenches. Too bad.... the ivory tower types don't understand human nature because it is they who are always making the stupid decisions that the rest of us have to try to work around.

Balfegor said...

Re: downtownlad:

Leaving everything else aside this --

Look at the Stock Market. It is up strongly. Bush turned your 401K into a 201K. Obama has it up to a 2.501K at least.

doesn't really take into account the behavior of the markets over the past few months. Recall that the Dow dropped like a thousand points in the two days after Obama was elected. It perked up a bit for a day, then dropped another thousand. Then he started naming his economic team (Clinton retreads), and the markets recovered.

After he took office, the Dow bumped around in the same 8000-9000 range it had been in since the crash, until he started rolling out his economic programme in early February (recall that confidence-building bit of business where the President passed the buck to Geither, telling everyone Geithner had a plan, when Geither did not, in fact, have a plan yet?) The market dropped like a stone, then gradually recovered, as the President and his Treasury Secretary got their act together. We're still bumping around in that 8000-9000 range.

I expect we will see sustained growth by the end of Obama's term, probably by the end of next year -- our economy is resilient, after all, and it will more or less recover on its own -- but to date, I don't think there's anything that Obama has done to particular help the economy. And the things he's done so far that have hurt the economy (or really, just the markets) have just been embarassing episodes of grotesque incompetence (mostly in that February-March timeframe), not actual policies. The markets recovered from those episodes once the administration got a grip.

Alex said...

garage - Obama failing means America survives. Simple math.

Alex said...

Troll logic:

Dow is up because of Stimulus and ObamaMagic.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Aw, I made Darcy laugh. My day is now complete. Whether Obama destroys the nation or the Mayan's were right, I can now meet the end a fulfilled man.

garage mahal said...

garage - Obama failing means America survives. Simple math..

Hmm that sounds dire. Anything preemptive we could do that you can think of to stop him?

Alex said...

Also while Althouse doesn't understand economics, she bitterly clings to the hope that Obama is pragmatic. She also thinks that the GOP screwed up the economy in the 6 years(2001-2007) they had full control and so why not try a few years of socialism? Am I right?

Alex said...

Hmm that sounds dire. Anything preemptive we could do that you can think of to stop him?

7/21/09 11:58 AM

Yeah I'm calling/emailing blue-dog Democrats to oppose ObamaCare. I'll save the violence-rhetoric for your side. You guys are the ones that created movies/plays depicting assassination of President Bush you scumfuck.

Freeman Hunt said...

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The markets go up when it appears that Obama and Congress are going to be stalled, stymied and do nothing.

The markets go down when it looks like the disastrously economic bombs that Obama and Congress propose will pass.

The more Obama fails, the better it is for the markets (and the economy as a whole). The ironic part is that Obama will take credit for the markets rising, due to his own failure.

Little Wheel Spin and Spin

bagoh20 said...

Surpluses or deficits mean nothing except when they get large as a percentage of GDP. The fact, that we are a little above or below zero is mostly due to timing of economic activity, taxes and spending levels. What we are planning now is a very unhealthy level relative to GDP. That's what counts.

Original Mike said...

The markets go up when it appears that Obama and Congress are going to be stalled, stymied and do nothing. The markets go down when it looks like the disastrously economic bombs that Obama and Congress propose will pass..

It has seemed like that to me, too. And it's not surprising.

EDH said...

It would be great if Ann created an "Obama has failed" tag so that in three years we can go back and say "wow, you were right, he was a total failure!" or "ha, ha, you were so wrong! The economy is doing great!"

This is like the spin on Limbaugh's
"I hope Obama fails" comments. It's blind even to the possibility that the "failure" of Obama's agenda may hasten the recovery, not retard it.

It's the dichotomy faced by investers right now that Kudlow likes to point out. Obama's plans are so destructively "out there" that they are likely to "fail" to be enacted, which is bullish for stocks.

bagoh20 said...

Why are the ladies (the biological ones) here so damn smart, and why don't I ever meet any like you.

Oh, I live in LA, that's right. I gotta move.

MJ said...

"Rush Limbaugh is fond of saying — over and over — that Obama is intentionally destroying the economy"

"Obama is a pragmatist"..


Both of these are wrong. Obama is an opportunistic but entirely conventional tax and spend liberal. He's used every event possible to push as far left as he could. He doesn't have any sort of evil intent, he just believes good thinking liberals couldn't possibly be wrong.

Darcy said...

I was hoping that was a link to Buffy, DBQ! Sweet.

Well, the memories are, anyway. My big sister's album that I loved. And Buffy was so pretty on the cover...I remember it!

Metanis said...

Ann, if it quacks...

edwardroyce said...

Sorry Ann

"I still think Obama is a pragmatist."

But a pragmatist doesn't waste $787 billion dollars on pork instead of rebuilding the economy. Even the politically blind Brooks can see that.

madawaskan said...

Downtownlad-

Well I know you know better....

Don't make me get out the Japanese stock market graphs...

madawaskan said...

Oh ya and let's see-

The engine of a market economy I dunno this guy who went to Berkeley-{remember Javitz?}

He's always trying to tell me that-that is this little guy called the-

CONSUMER.

Where the hell is he going to be with unemployment reaching it's highest cimbs in forty years and cruising at double digits?

Diamondhead said...

"Look at the Stock Market. It is up strongly. Bush turned your 401K into a 201K. Obama has it up to a 2.501K at least."

Clearly you have an advanced understanding of the economy in general and the stock market in particularly.

Sy said...

Let's be clear, OBAMA IS NOT A PRAGMATIST.

1.A pragmatist DOES NOT throw 1/5 of the GDP(health care) into flux with the economy ailing. Health care reform if done CORRECTLY, is at most a long term benefit. WE NEED HELP NOW.

2. A pragmatist DOES NOT increase regulation and tax on businesses with a cap and trade bill in an ailing economy.

Jeremy said...

Last week Brooks was considered an asshole by most here...now, he says something they like, and he's suddenly a hero.

It really shows how disingenuous and full of shit the local wingnut pack is.

Jeremy said...

And the whining and bitching continues, and the whining and bitching continues, And the whining and bitching continues, and the whining and bitching continues, And the whining and bitching continues, and the whining and bitching continues, And the whining and bitching continues, and the whining and bitching continues, And the whining and bitching continues, and the whining and bitching continues, And the whining and bitching continues, and the whining and bitching continues...

madawaskan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

Jeremy - blah blah blah blah. That's all you say.

Alex said...

Anyways the Obamabot apologists can continue glorying and excusing this guy, but poll numbers keep dropping every day!

madawaskan said...

Balfegor even if i did agree with your benign assessment of Obama on the macro level I think you are missing the deleterious actions he has taken on the micro level.

Small businesses are a big employer of Americans in the aggregate and Obama has done many things to discourage not only them but the bigger businesses as well.

1)Card Check. {In fact that may be the very reason he is getting co-operation from Wal-Mart on health care-they might think they can avert that action.

2)Health care costs.

3)Cap and trade.

4)Minimum wage increases.

There are probably plenty of other things, but the message I have read over and over on these boards is that small businesses are packing it in, and I think that is reflected and verified by the growing unemployment rate.

I don't think Obama has been as irresponsible for the results as you portray him to be.

Obama isn't the usual Executive who is checked by other branches.

He has a fully co-operative House, Senate and media with perhaps the least represented opposition in modern times.

Alex said...

Obama's RCP average down to 53-37. Now that we're into the meat of capNTrade, ObamaCare and failed Stimulus + growing unemployment, you can expect those numbers to continue to fall!

AJ Lynch said...

Althouse:

Obama is so pragmatic he has cast aside (if he ever understood them in the first place) the most basic & rudimentary principles of both economics and arithmmetic.

Alex said...

AJ Lynch - yet Althouse clings to hopeychange that Obama is pragmatic. I wonder what is her deadline for that 2011?

edwardroyce said...

"Last week Brooks was considered an asshole by most here...now, he says something they like, and he's suddenly a hero."

I don't know about anyone else but I can't imagine anyone thinking Brooks is a hero about anything.

LarsPorsena said...

""Look at the Stock Market. It is up strongly. Bush turned your 401K into a 201K. Obama has it up to a 2.501K at least."

The market is up. Lead by zombie banks, stiffened with tax-payer money, and Goldman-Sachs, Morgan-Stanley et al making steals and deals with their government loot.

Every leap has been fostered by an announcement that earnings were "better than expected". The good P/E's are a result of firing employees slashing operations and reducing inventory, not by earning a profit on creating new goods and services.

The shortfall in sales of notes,bill,bonds by the Treasury to finance astronomical debt levels, is made up by having the Fed buy them. (Self-licking ice cream cone?)

This is all going to come to a bad end.

But then I'm no Paul Krugman.

AJ Lynch said...

DTL the Super Geenyous:

Is a 2.501K greater than a 201K?

edwardroyce said...

I hate to point this out but the stock market is not the economy.

The economy is not the stock market.

There usually is a connection between the two but when you've got trillions of tax money being pumped into the stock market you're going to see a disconnected market.

Until the money spigot gets turned off or the money runs out.

Shanna said...

Look at the Stock Market. It is up strongly. Bush turned your 401K into a 201K. Obama has it up to a 2.501K at least."

Clearly you have an advanced understanding of the economy in general and the stock market in particularly.


Indeed, I'm a little perplexed at people like DTL talking about who awesome the stock market is doing, considering last year it was at 13/14k and now it's not even to 9k. Call me when it really recovers.

dick said...

I realize you think Obama is a pragmatist. However, I have yet to see any inkling that he is. On what do you pin your hopes and dreams that this man is pragmatic in any way at all. All I have seen from him is I Won, so suck it up. That sure doesn't seem very pragmatic to me at all.

I just see a little kid sticking his tongue out at the country and letting Pelosi and Reid run roughshod over the rest of us. I think that is a sure recipe for disaster and so far that is what it has been.

MadisonMan said...

I'm a little perplexed at people like DTL talking about who awesome the stock market is doing, considering last year it was at 13/14k and now it's not even to 9k. Call me when it really recovers.

Waiting 'til it really recovers means you missed the opportunity.

Not that I'm a big fan of stock investment at the moment -- as if I have money to invest :) -- but I do know that you don't want to wait to invest until it's at 13/14K.

Gerard said...

"How much of an ideologue is he anyway? We've come this far, and still we don't really know."

Really. Cue the old song....

If you dont know me by now
You will never never never know me...


Wake up and smell the agenda. You can do it. You're almost there....

Shanna said...

Waiting 'til it really recovers means you missed the opportunity.

Not that I'm a big fan of stock investment at the moment -- as if I have money to invest :) -- but I do know that you don't want to wait to invest until it's at 13/14K


I didn't say I wasn't investing!!! I just mean it's a little silly to say "look how awesome Obama is doing with the economy because the stock market has fully recovered". It hasn't and it has a long way to go. But I put my 10% in every two weeks. I would put more, but I've increased personal savings to make sure I have a sufficient efund for emergencies.

srfwotb said...

He is a pragmatist - but he doesn't know jack about economics, not even on a personal level. My bil is an attorney who knows jack about economics as well so this colors my view. This leads to *really stupid decisions*.

Basically, it's "we'll go into to debt now to finance out eco-yuppie lifestyle and earn our way out later. After all, we're attorneys. We hope government spending goes up, because we're environmental attorneys, so that helps us and our priorities. We're Good People, unlike MBAs, who are Evil because they are concerned with Profit."

I see every sign of this syndrome in how the Obamas have lived their financial life - except for all those pragmatic Chicago criminal connections.

These are not people who understand the idea of markets, value, and scarcity etc. So, will pure political self-interest pull him out? No idea.

madawaskan said...

MadisonMan-

Well the thing about Bear markets is that they are volatile as hell with sharp ascends and declines-the declines coming more rapidly. It's enough to make you lose your lunch.

And, as they say good luck trying to catch a falling knife.

This thing could trade sideways for over a decade.

No one near retirement age should take the risk.

Say someone invested in an index of the Nikkei they would have very little to show for their money for an investment of almost twenty years-that's how long that thing supposedly traded sideways.

Take a look at this chart-

Nikkei

If you invested in late 1990 and held on till today-

well....

not so good.

madawaskan said...

And, just to add to that-Japan had little to no economic growth in the 1990's and that is why it is infamously known as-

The Lost Decade.

Even as bad as it was for Japan they never reached an unemployment level -I believe-of over-

5.5%.

D-Day said...

I think you're right that Obama is more about personal glory than ideology, but can we agree that he did a pretty good job concealing that during the campaign? That's what made him so "different" than Hillary! He was principled one, what with his politically "brave" Iraq war vote. Hillary with all of her Washington connections was too mercenary.

During the campaign, I got into tons of fights with a friend over this stuff. She was big into Obama; I volunteered for Fred Thompson. The one thing we agreed on was that we both hated Hillary.

Something just occurred to me writing this comment. I've been really smug about the country's pending economic catastrophe (I can't stop it, but at least I voted for the other guy). It only just occurred to me while writing this post that maybe the joke's on both of us.

Ha.

Bart DePalma said...

Oh for crying out loud! President Obama now admits that he was completely unaware of the provision of the House Dem bill that outlaws folks from obtaining new private insurance that is not approved by the government:

With the public’s trust in his handling of health care tanking (50%-44% of Americans disapprove), the White House has launched a new phase of its strategy designed to pass Obamacare: all Obama, all the time. As part of that effort, Obama hosted a conference call with leftist bloggers urging them to pressure Congress to pass his health plan as soon as possible.

During the call, a blogger from Maine said he kept running into an Investors Business Daily article that claimed Section 102 of the House health legislation would outlaw private insurance. He asked: “Is this true? Will people be able to keep their insurance and will insurers be able to write new policies even though H.R. 3200 is passed?” President Obama replied: “You know, I have to say that I am not familiar with the provision you are talking about.” (quote begins at 17:10)

This is a truly disturbing admission by the President, especially considering that later in the call, Obama promises yet again: “If you have health insurance, and you like it, and you have a doctor that you like, then you can keep it. Period.” How can Obama keep making this promise if he is not familiar with the health legislation that is being written in Congress? Details matter.

This clueless man is lost without a teleprompter and is not competent to hold the office of President.

Methadras said...

And I cling to the belief that Obama has the ability to save us from the destructive path Congress has chosen for itself. But will he use it?

Cling with what? Spider silk perhaps? Honestly, at this point how can you have the hope that Obama is capable of doing anything correctly. You want him to save us from the deference that he gave to Congress to begin with? I liken that to starting your own house fire so you can show everyone in your neighborhood that you can come to the rescue and put it out. Congress has already shown that when push comes to shove, more often than not, their self-interest takes over.

Big Mike said...

...the White House has launched a new phase of its strategy designed to pass Obamacare: all Obama, all the time.

The trouble is, he's thorouoghly overexposed already. He put himself on TV back when he didn't have to, apparently just for the glory of it, and now people are tired of him.

blake said...

I think Althouse has it backwards.

What has Obama to be pragmatic about? He's not running again for three years. And he's keeping ACORN well-fed, and feeding the special interest groups. I mean, that's pragmatism, right there.

Last time was so easy for him, why would he think next would be any different?

On the other hand, the whole House and 1/3rd of the Senate are up for re-election next year.

They're rein in the President, not the other way around. And this will be presented, I'd guess, as the American people not being smart enough or good enough to do what's right.

Gina said...

downtownlad said...
Oh please.


Axelrod, is that you?

I really don't know what else Obama can do to convince Ann or anyone else that he is not a pragmatist, a centrist, a post-partisan, or whatever other smokescreen he put up in the campaign to attract gullible independents. Maybe start his pressers off with a stirring rendition of the Internationale?

His omnibus budget should have been enough to convince you, if not Porkulus, to say nothing of cap-and-trade or Obamacare. He is not just an ideologue, though. He's too corrupt for that idealistic moniker.

In future elections I won't be looking for the one who's most fiscally conservative. I'll be looking for those who show some sign of believing that our Constitution matters.

edwardroyce said...

IMO a "pragmatic" President would have done things a lot differently than Obama has. Personally I think the whole "TARP bank bailout" and "stimulus" were completely idiotic. And still are idiotic.

1. They could've ameliorated most of the issues banks were getting into by simply suspending "Mark to Market". The banks were in financial trouble mostly because of *new federal banking rules*. These rules, "Mark to Market", basically required banks to take assets with difficult or unknown *current* market values and value them at far below their matured value.

An example would be if you bought an asset at $100 that you think will appreciate to $200 in 5 years. But this rule required you to mark it as worth $10 because that's all you could sell it for -now-.

It's fairly crazy but a huge portion of the whole banking mess and the "toxic assets" are due to changed federal price evaluation rules.

2. Another way they could have fixed the problems is by temporarily relaxing the liability to asset ratio regulations for banks.

When you factor in "Mark to Market" that makes asset values artificially lower *and* you require banks to have a certain minimum liability to asset ratio you end up with banks that, on paper, are underwater.

It would have been much simpler and much less expensive to have relaxed the liability to asset rules and suspended the "Mark to Market". Then let the banks work the value of the assets over time. Writing off bad assets, drawing income from good assets.

But doing these things would have given people time to work things out.

3. IMO I'm against this massive federal borrowing. But if you're going to borrow $1 trillion to revamp the economy then one very simple way of doing things could be:

A. Use the borrowed money to offset lost federal taxes.

B. Drop the federal tax rates by 10% across the board for all companies for the first $25 million in gross income from 2009 to 2012.

C. Eliminate the federal tax for the first $40,000 income per person, or $80,000 income married filing jointly, from 2009 through 2012.

This would have freed up massive amounts of money for consumers, workers, families and small businesses across the country. It would make it extremely attractive for small businesses to hire people because they wouldn't have to pay payroll tax for the first $40,000 of pay per worker.

We'd probably have seen the economy explode.

Pity.

Darcy said...

Late, but Hoosier Daddy: Sweet! LOL.

Dogwood said...

How much of an ideologue is he anyway? We've come this far, and still we don't really know.

Of course we know. We knew before the election, and so did you, but you couldn't bring yourself to admit the obvious.

You hoped he would be a centrist even though you had no reason to believe he would be so given his background and record. But hope doesn't equal reality, a lesson you are learning the hard way.

You are right in one regard, though, he is seeking personal glory. However, he believes personal glory will be achieved by implementing his far-left agenda, not by embracing a centrist position on the issues.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

This thing could trade sideways for over a decade.


You mean like 1968 to 1978 when the S&P 500 was 96.47 and ended at 96.11?

Yep. I remember those days. Sort of.....

Dust Bunny Queen said...

edward royce for President.

That is what I said about Mark to Market rules and the asset ratio. There was no need for these massive bail outs and Lehman Brothers was forced into BK by the US Government on purpose.

bagoh20 said...

""I still think Obama is a pragmatist."

I don't think that word means what Ann thinks it does.

EnigmatiCore said...

And I cling to the belief that Obama has the ability to save us from the destructive path Congress has chosen for itself

I agree he has that ability.

I don't see any reason at all to think he has that desire. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, in who he has appointed to various positions and in what he has proposed and in how he has conducted himself to think he is anything but at least as far left as Nancy Pelosi.

More than disappointing.

edwardroyce said...

"That is what I said about Mark to Market rules and the asset ratio."

Yeah. Really the issue is a bad combination of a loss in confidence by the public, uncertainity in the mortgage market and consequently insufficient time to work things out.

By relaxing "Mark to Market" and the asset ratio you give the banks and finance companies a lot more room and time to properly evaluate the value of these "toxic assets".

By eliminating federal tax, plus the employer contribution, on the first $40,000 you return a lot of liquidity to workers and employers. By reducing taxes for small companies you stabilize these companies and encourage growth. By doing the above for 4 years you make the tax/income situation predictable.

Frankly that really is one of the major sins of the Obama administration: the loss of predictability.

With these crazy zig-zag changes in contract law, bankruptcy law, regulations, tax law, health insurance, energy policy/costs, etc etc etc. It's impossible for any company to make any sort of prediction so they're all holding onto cash in case things turn out badly.

So of course things are going to turn out badly.

Free markets and democracies rely on the pillars of the rule of law, property rights, political stability and economic predictability.

Strange that Obama seems to be undermining all of them at the same time.

JeffM said...

The fact that we still "don't really know" what Obama believes is itself very troubling. But I can't say I share Ann's belief in Obama's pragmatism (vs. his opportunism). There is no evidence of it in the man's brief career. Instead there is hubris and intoxication with his own meteoric rise to power. For all our sakes, I hope he can come down to earth.

Moneyrunner said...

I still think Obama is a pragmatist.

Ann's desperate cry for help. Still in denial. Unwilling to concede the evidence of her eyes.

"Help me Obi Wan , you’re our only hope."

A law prof living in a movie script is interesting to watch.

I was going to be unkind Ann, but I’ll keep you in my prayers instead.

Peace.

avwh said...

Frankly that really is one of the major sins of the Obama administration: the loss of predictability.

With these crazy zig-zag changes in contract law, bankruptcy law, regulations, tax law, health insurance, energy policy/costs, etc etc etc. It's impossible for any company to make any sort of prediction so they're all holding onto cash in case things turn out badly.

So of course things are going to turn out badly.

Free markets and democracies rely on the pillars of the rule of law, property rights, political stability and economic predictability.

Strange that Obama seems to be undermining all of them at the same time.


This is how O is definitely emulating FDR. The Depression lasted as long as it did for many of the same reasons as edward royce cited here: unpredictability.

Both FDR & O want to experiment and not let the crisis go to waste - so they're sure to lengthen the crisis.

TmjUtah said...

Whenever I read the words of a pundit (from either side of the aisle) purporting to be the ME doing a post mortem on the Republican majority, I always wonder why they miss the point?

Republicans were elected, and elected by large margins, to govern conservatively. Fiscal restraint, strong defense, limited government.

The failure - utter, abject, and apparently as yet to be truly acknowledged by all those high priced beltway maggots like Steele - was to govern conservatively.

They became Democrats, and now they are out. Unfortunately, even the resultant wealth of two and a half centuries of mostly free markets isn't going to survive a tenth of the existing Democrat agenda, much less The Won's calculated strategy of destruction.

But when Democrats really put the rubber to road redistributing other people's money, enacting destructive social engineering agendas, and inflicting devastatingly inept economic policies, you are seeing features, not bugs.

We used to be leery of deficits running in the billions of dollars. Buddy, there won't ever be enough money to make a dent in this pack of thieves we have in DC right now - not between you, the guy who still has a job, and two billion Chinese hoping we aren't going to default...

... which we will, probably right after the 2010 elections.

We're DONE.

Huan said...

Ms. Althouse


Your recent realization on Obama makes me sad. Sad because it was obvious to many of us what a vacuous danger he would be as our president, but so many intelligent people drank deeply of the Hope and Change and voted for him.

I hope the damage he inflicts on our nation can be reversed.

eatyourbeans said...

Haw, haw, the poltergeists like Coulter, Palin & Joe the Plumber called it right and you smarty-pants got snookered but good. The great failing of intellectually clever people is that they can convince themselves that 1+1= 3....5.... sugar donuts... anything they want.

You all wanted so badly to believe that this well-spoken, reasonable young black man was the one who would finally put the bad times behind us. By bringing upon us much worse times he will have succeeded at that.

Is he malevolent, narcissistic or merely incompetent? Probably all of the above. His evident partiality for the 3rd world Dear Leader types may come from the pleasant days he spent inside the Chicago machine.

Cling away, Sister! I wouldn;'t want to look in the mirror either